So you’ve passed your driving test and its now time to get on the road, you now need to consider the first thing that needs to be arranged, insurance. It’s not an unfamiliar statement that first-time drivers are going to have to pay a considerable amount more for their insurance than others, it’s something that all young drivers prepare themselves for. Along with the predicament of what insurance company, policy and cover options you should go with to get the best deal, you are also faced with the option of fitting a black box. You find yourself asking should I get a black box? Is it really worth it?
Should I Get A Black Box? – The Pro’s and Con’s
As learners and new drivers, you constantly hear about the prospect of getting a black box fitted in your car, but do you know what a black box actually is? In fact, it is just that, a black box; it’s around the size of a mobile phone and is fitted under the dashboard of your car. Your black box will be out of sight, and you won’t even notice that its there, it will track your performance as a driver including your speed, braking and smoothness. So if you’re considering whether to go for an insurance policy which involves a black box, here are the main pros and cons.
Our first benefit is the most common and the first thing that drivers associate with fitting a black box. Unfortunately, although this isn’t necessarily true and a little unfair, insurance companies view new and young drivers as more likely to be careless and more liable to be involved in an accident. This is mainly due to the fact they presume new drivers are unfamiliar with how to react and deal with trickier situations, meaning that they increase policy prices. Although, if you have a black box where your insurance company can track your every move, you see it as you are more likely to be aware of your surroundings and be more careful while driving.
The great thing about a black box is that it is so quick and easy to install. A professional has to come round and fit your box within 14 days of arranging your insurance, which in itself is beneficial because it allows you a couple of weeks to get used to driving your car alone before you start to be recorded. You will not have to pay an extra fee for installation; it will be included in your original policy fee, and it takes only around an hour to full install. A professional will come to you, wherever is best for you, whether this is at home, work, at a family member or friend’s house.
Provides Extra Safety Measures
To track your performance and mileage used, the majority of black box policies will have an app you can download on your devices to make checkups. Within the app is a GPS Tracker which will show you the exact location of your vehicle. This provides you with extra safety measures against theft because, in the unlikely event of a stolen car, your car’s exact location can be found within seconds. A GPS tracker can also give you extra safety measures because in an emergency or if you are lost, again, your exact location can be found instantly.
As your black box tracks both your speed and braking, if another driver makes a false claim against you with no real proof, it is easier for you to prove them wrong.
As a driving school, we have had many experiences with recently passed pupils running into incidents with other drivers and coming back to us for advice or to take a pass plus course to regain confidence. We spoke to Jeff Hockley who is a driving instructor in London about his experiences with false claims against new drivers.
“New and young drivers are a prime target for false claims, this is something I’ve come across a lot while teaching over the last ten years. I once had a pupil who was taking driving lessons in Brentwood and passed first time with only 3 minors, but ran into an issue with another driver who claimed that they were speeding and hit them causing serious internal damage on their car. Because they had a black box and were able to prove that they were driving within the speed limit, they managed to get away with paying out.”
When you’re filling out all the information needed for your insurance policy, you are asked to submit the number of miles you want your insurance to cover you for. For new drivers, this tends to be around 6,000 with a black box. If you run out or go over on your mileage, you will have to pay additional costs to cover the added miles. Fees are expensive and tend to be considerably more than you would have originally paid. Extra mileage can be purchased in thousands, for even 1,000 extra miles could set you back more than £100. This means that if you are a long distance driver, you may run into issues and end up paying a lot of money.
This point doesn’t apply to all insurance companies, but many black box policies come along with a curfew. Most curfews limited you from driving between 11 pm and 6 am, late and night and the early hours of the morning are seen as the most dangerous times to drive. If you are caught driving within these times, you will either be given an extra fee to pay, or your driving score will be decreased.
Rewards Are Not Guaranteed
Although the idea of being rewarded for safe driving may be enticing, they are not guaranteed, rewards will only be given if you drive up to your insurance policies standards. Most companies such as Admiral, More Than and Hastings reward you with a discounted policy in your second year, but you will only see the reward when you renew. You will be given a reduction in premiums if you stay with them and if your driving score has been consistently high throughout the entire year.
Black Box or No Black Box?
Ultimately, only you can decide whether a black box is best for you, there are many advantages and disadvantages to the option. We hope that this has made your decision a little easier!